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Europeans 2003 - Malmo, Sweden


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The first event to be decided -- the Pairs -- is going on now, as I type. Watching on Eurosport cable (as Russian RTR-1 channel isn't carrying this live...).

Here are the standings thus far for all four events (Ladies, Men, Pairs, Dance)

Pairs -

after SPs:

1. Petrova/Tikhonov (Russia - StPete)...big surprise, although they were World Chaps three years ago; have become sluggish since

2. Totmianina/Marinin (Russia - StPete) - #2 ranked team in the World -- behind the Chinese, Shen/Zhao -- so it's a bit of a surprise to see them in 2nd after the SP.

3. Abitbol/Bernadis (France) - on the comback trail

4. Obertas/Palamarchuk (Russia - StPete) -the tiniest Russians & the pair of the future, IMO. They remind me of the Protopopovs, in skating style & looks (that really dates me, I know :) ).

5. Zagorska/Siudek (Poland)

6. Berankova/Dlabola (Czech)

Dance -

after the initial Compulsory Dance, with the OD set for tomorrow & Freeance on Friday:

1. Lobacheva/Averbuch (Russia - St Petersburg) - no surprise...the class of the field & the World Champs

2. Denkova/Stavitsky (Bulgaria)

3. Navka/Kostomianov (Russia - Moscow)

4. Gruschina/Goncharov (Ukraine)

5. Winkler/Lohse (Germany)

6. Chait/Sakhnovsky (Israel)...who won the controversial 3rd-place at last year's Worlds...

Men -

This one's easy to list...the guys haven't begun their competition yet! SPs Friday afternoon & LPs on Saturday. Faves are the three Russians (Pluschenko, Klimkin, Timchenko) and the French (Joubert, Jeannette, Dambier), with the Swiss champion (Lambiel) a possible medal contender.

Ladies -

After the SPs, with finals set for tomorrow night!!

1. ELENA SOKOLOVA (Russia - StPete)...comeback 'shocker' of the year, following on her triumph over World Champ Irina Slutskaya at Russian Nationals a couple of weeks ago!!

2. Irina Slutskaya (Russia - Moscow)...my goodness...

3. Julia Sebestyen (Hungary)

4. Elena Liaschenko (Ukraine)

5. Galina Maniachenko (Ukraine)

6. Viktoria Volchkova (Russia - Moscow?) the gal who beat Sasha Cohen at Cup of Russia...disastrous short program & now in danger of not qualifying for the World team (the Russian Federation uses Euros as a testing ground before selecting the composition of the Worlds team

Back to the pairs finals on TV...still showing the lower-ranked teams...I suppose that the suspense is: "Which Russian pair will take the gold?"

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Vagansmom - Yes, Maria did turn pro. I believe that she is touring with Champions on Ice.

The Pairs finals ended a short time ago. In nutshell, Petrova/Tikhonov were unable to sustain the momentum of the SP, bombed, couldn't even do their lifts cleanly, dropped to 3rd place. Totminina/Marinin repeat as Euro Champions. *This year's huge controversy in pairs is -- drumroll! -- the silver medal accorded the French team of Abitbol/Bernadis, despite a mediocre performance replete with many errors, a couple of falls, etc. It was a one-judge split between them and the Polish team, Zagorska/Siudek, for the silver medal. Boos in the audience when it was shown that the Polish team did no better than 4th place....go figure that one: the Polish team almost won the silver medal, then ended up in 4th place. That is due to odd ISUrules called 'one-by-one' judging, which I'm not even going to try to explain ('cause I really cannot!!!).

So it ended up:

1. Totmianina/Marinin (Russia) - clean program, beautiful long lines, innovative lifts, to "The Cotton Club" soundtrack. Look, ma! - the both SMILED throughout the program!!

2. Abitbol/Bernadis (France) - "Addams Family Values" soundtrack. They skated their hearts out -- obviously trying really, really hard -- but it was full of errors, falls/touch-downs, etc. Controversial placement is now the 'talk of the skating world'.

3. Petrova/Tikhonov - a mess, skated to Rachmaninoff 'Symphonic Dances.' Heavy quality - he nearly dropped her from one lift, then couldn't get her up into the air on another lift. Got 3rd place thanks to a 1st place in the short program.

4. Zagorska/Siudek (Poland) - "Xotica" soundtrack. THE program of the night, for me. Full of vigor. Clean throws. SPECTACULAR lifts. Almost won silver...lost to the French by one judge (and we wonder WHO that judge may be??? the ISU no longer reveals nationality behind each vote...)

5. Obertas/Sokholov (Russia) - "Pearl Harbor" soundtrack. Wonderful program w/o errors. Dropped to 5th place only because of Z/S's even greater program and all the crazy stuff that happened among top 4 pairs.

6. Berankov/Dlabola (Czech) - yet another error-free program, skated with musicality, to a Raul di Blasio piano tune. Big audience faves.

A very young Ukrainean couple also made an impact...ended up somewhere around 9th or 10th...forget which.

Good night!

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The ice dancers just completed the second of three phases of the competition, the 'Original Dance' -- this year, to the theme 'In a Grand Ballroom' (waltzes, quickteps and/or polkas). Lobacheva/Averbuch received one 6.0 in presentation, for their OD...gee, I wonder *which* country's judge gave them the 6.0???? :)

So the standings in ice dance remain thus:

1. Lobacheva/Averbuch (Russia)

2. Denkova/Stavitsky (Bulgaria)

3. Navka/Kostomianov (Russia)

4. Gruschina/Goncharov (Ukraine)

5. Winkler/Lohse (Germany)

6. Chait/Sakhnovsky (Israel)

7. Delobel/Schoenfelder (France)

Tonight I plan to watch the Ladies finals (Sokolova vs Slutskaya thriller) on TV 'live' on Eurosport & will post results/impressions if my server is up (and I am up...it ends late and Moscow is 2 times zones ahead of Sweden).

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The biggest news out of the Ladies finals in Malmo is not that one Russian (Slutskaya) overtook another Russian (Sokolova) for gold but, rather, the emergence of a young Italian wonder -- Carolina Kostner -- who came out of nowhere to grab 4th place, just a couple of judges shy of a bronze medal, which went to Hungary's powerful Julia Sebestyen.

Carolina Kostner of Italy was only 7th in the SPs but moved to 4th with a standing-ovation balletic performance that included the toughest jump combos of the night...two 3-3 combinations, including a huge 3 lutz-3 toe, followed by 3 flip-3toe, then a 2 axel-3 salchow!!! Carolina has gorgeous line; lovely, sexy golden-beige dress. The only other 3-3 combo of the evening came from Elena Sokolova who, amazingly, dropped to 2nd place behind her countrywoman, Slutskaya...and Slutskaya FELL on her only 3-3 attempt. Hmmm...well, Slutskaya skated with the greatest speed and her 'Traviata' program was full of emotion. All judges but one (8-1 split) agreed to give Slutskaya the gold...huh??? So that is that. Bravo, Russia -- gold & silver. And bravo to Hungary for a bronze. But Italy gets the greatest bravos of all with its new ice princess..I can't wait to see her in DC.

Let's just hope that USviewers will get a chance to see Kostner's performance...it may be 'chacked' (cut) as it occurred rather early-on in the evening & ABC network usually shows only the top three ladies at Europeans. Good luck, America, in seeing Italy's ice princess on TV.

SO it ended:

1. Irina Slutskaya -(Russia) "La Traviata" won despite a hard fall and no 3-3combo

2. Elena Sokolova ((Russia) "Notre-Dame de Paris" I would have given her gold...3-3 combo & more artistic)

3. Julie Sebestyen -(Hungary) powerful jumper...highest 3 lutz of the night.

4. CAROLINA KOSTNER (Italy) - *the* performance of the evening!!!

5. Elena Liashenko (Ukraine)

6. Galina Maniachenko (Ukraine)

7. Alisa Drei (Finland) another suprise jump...was only 10th in the short program

8. Viktoria Volchkova (Russia) biggest dissappointment...only 9th-best LP

9. Susanna Poyko (Finland)

10. Elina Kettunen (Finland)...three Finns in the top ten..pretty nice

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Here are the Men's standings after the short programs this afternoon (did not watch as I'm in office; plan to watch ice dance finals tonight from home)

1. Evgeni PLUSHENKO (Russia)

2. Brian JOUBERT (France)

3. Ilia KLIMKIN (Russia)

4. Stanick JEANNETTE (France)

5. Stanislav TIMCHENKO (Russia)

6. Stephane LAMBIEL (Switz)

Just as I predicted before competition began (battle of Russians vs French plus the Swiss guy)...see above...

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Russia wins it's third gold medal in these championships, as Lobacheva/Averbuch rock-'n-roll at 100 miles-an-hour to the top of the podium!! And we still have tomorrow's men's finals to go, with Pluschenko most likely making it a full-sweep of four medals for Russia unless France's Brian Joubert can play 'spoiler'!!

The Israelis -- a controversial 3rd in last year's World Ch'ps -- barely held on to 6th place here, winning a 5/4 split of judges votes over the 7th-place finishers, Delobel/Schoenfelder of France. Hmmm...could the Israelis have suddenly become that much worse than they were a few months ago????? And, interestingly, the Bulgarian couple who led a 'protest petition' at last year's Worlds are now the silver medalists??? Hmmmm.... ;)

So the final standing in ice dance at Euros:

1 Irina LOBACHEVA / Ilia AVERBUKH RUS rock n' roll medley; yellow-neon costumes

2 Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVIYSKI BUL Middle Eastern theme, new white costumes, no Egyptian wigs, as they've worn this season, up to now (thank goodness)

3 Tatiana NAVKA / Roman KOSTOMAROV RUS gorgoeus long ballet lines...my personal faves!

4 Elena GRUSHINA / Ruslan GONCHAROV UKR another Egyptian theme...

5 Kati WINKLER / Rene LOHSE GER he fell badly near end of program & took his time getting up, yet they remained 5th overall; chor'phy seems simpler than other top teams but this couple has the greatest charisma of all; crowd adores them!



8 Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA

Going into the World Ch'ps in DC (end March), the big question is 'Where do the Canadians Bourne & Kraatz fit into this list?' They missed the entire Grand Prix season. Did they skate at their Nationals? If so, how were they? Can any Canadian skating fans enlighten me?

On to the Men's finals tomorrow night.

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REALLY quick report 'cause it's very late & we've had guests at home. Almost all of the guys shown on TV skated great; it was a wonderful competition. Russia makes it 4 out of 4 gold medals at these Euro championships with Yevgeni "Plushy" Plushenko's win tonight, with a musical tribute to the 300th b'day of St Petersburg...only man with a clean 4-3 combo. Huge congratulations to FRANCE -- they won 2nd and 3rd places (Brian "Baloo"Joubert & Stanick Jeannette, respectively)...Joubert spectacular but did 'only' a quad jump without a triple in combination.

But the huge charismatic prize goes to the young Georgian lad, Vachtang Murvanidze -- sooooo cute!!!! :) -- for a scintillating display of triple axels and all other tripes, gt footwork, spectacular musicality, etc, etc, that had judges scratching their heads not knowing where to place him He was 15th last year, ended up 7th here, but he's definitely a guy on the move. Watch out for him to make a splash at the Worlds in Washington. His 7th place here is no indication of his real talent.

So the standing of the top eight guys were:

1 Evgeni PLUSHENKO RUS ...original music 'St Petersburg - 300';

2 Brian JOUBERT FRA 3.0 2 2

3 Stanick JEANNETTE FRA 5.0 4 3

4 Ilia KLIMKIN RUS 5.5 3 4

5 Stephane LAMBIEL SUI 8.0 6 5

6 Stanislav TIMCHENKO RUS 9.5 5 7

7 Vakhtang MURVANIDZE GEO 12.0 8 8

8 Frederic DAMBIER FRA 12.5 13 6

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Thankyou so much for your reports, Jennie! There is really nothing I can add - I totally agree with every word. Isn't "Plushy" just divine!

I saw what there was to see on television, which might have been slightly more than you saw. Alas, there were two Swedes participating, neither of them did well. I sat there trying to analyse what was so terribly wrong... Well, there is a great shortage of ice rinks here, and the ice rinks that are available are occupied by small boys doing hockey. Figure skaters can hire the rink privately after 10 p.m. Rinks also close in summer. Hardly a good envirenment for a budding champion.

Then another thing needed. Mental training! Somehow or other, the Swedish skaters look like they are apologizing for being there. No "look Ma, how clever I am", rather they look like that great mass of an audience is about to devour them - fear is shining out of their eyes-

Just an impression I got, but it might be true.

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I'm glad that we agreed on this competition, Pamela! re. the Swedes, it is a shame that their skating program has fallen. Back in the early-20th C., they had many world champions, such as Gillis Grafstrom & Ulrich Salchow (after whom the jump is named).

We're finally getting a bit of a thaw in Moscow with 2+ C. yesterday - a veritable heat wave!!...Hope it's likewise in Stockholm. :cool:

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I didn't find this thread until now!!! Silly me!:o

But I definitely think that the swedes looked better this year than previous years. These two have at least grace and straight backs when they do crossovers which you cannot say of some of the swdeish skaters a couple of years ago. So Åsa and Kristoffer looks as they have got potential!

I had really never ever noticed Stanick Jeanette before. But I thought that he had the best long program in the whole competition! Such a poetic performance! (I didn't even like the book "Le petit Prince" when I our teacher had us to read it in my French-classes in High School!)

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Jeannie, this is just a bit of curiosity, but I thought it is rather fun.

Well, you mentioned Salchow in your post...

Now listen to this! My godfather was married to Fanny Salchow (sister of Ulrich) in his early youth and I am in the possession of Fanny's fan. The material is in tatters, but the ivory is still there...

Must take it to Seville one day to have it repaired - there are some good fan work shops there I know.

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